WASHINGTON (ABC7) — D.C. bald eagle Liberty has abandoned her eggs and taken up a new male suitor following the recent disappearance of Justice.
The Earth Conservation Corps, which monitors Justice and Liberty’s nest, says Liberty left her two recently laid eggs behind Thursday morning, making both non-viable after she was seen mating with a new bald eagle, M2.
The Earth Conservation Corps told ABC7 on Thursday afternoon that there was a confirmed mating between Liberty and M2 at 6:20 a.m. earlier that day. By the time, Liberty had been gone from the nest for nearly eight hours.
Liberty on previous occasions also had spent as much as three hours off her nest after Justice went missing, which would lead the eggs to being non-viable. The first egg was laid Feb. 12 and the second egg on Feb. 16.
Justice and Liberty, both 21, had been together at their nest in a tree above the D.C. Police Academy in Southwest Washington since 2005. After Justice’s disappearance on Feb. 9, a male bald eagle named Aaron Burrd attempted to mate with Liberty, but she was mostly resistant of his pursuit.
A second bald eagle, M2, then appeared in an attempt to woo Liberty, a feat in which he has since succeeded.
After Justice went missing, Liberty had to carry out all the responsibilities on her own. While incubating the eggs, she also has had to hunt for fish to feed herself and protect the nest.
Despite his disappearance, the Earth Conservation Corps said it is certain Justice was the father of the two eggs. He and Liberty had already participated in mating rituals.
Solo eagles have been spotted at locations Justice frequents, including St. Elizabeths Hospital about two miles from the nest site, but he has not returned. The Earth Conservation Corps said the longest it has seen male eagles leave their nest and return is two weeks.
It takes 35-40 days for an egg to hatch, meaning Liberty’s first egg, ECC5, would have hatched between March 18-25 and the second egg, ECC6, between March 25-31. If she is still fertile, however, Liberty could still lay new eggs in the coming weeks.
The live eagle camera powered by Pepco captured the moment Liberty laid her second egg, which is viewable at www.eaglecam.org.